More angry, more often: March heatwave signals a new normal

Daylight hours are dwindling and our first month of autumn is ending. But in many places, March felt a lot like summer. Get used to it: looking ahead, all indications are that future summers could be just like this one, or more extreme.Southeast Australia welcomed autumn with a persistent heat wave. For the first 12 days of autumn, temperatures were 6.9 degrees above normal across Tasmania and 6.8 degrees above normal in Victoria.Melbourne’s March record-breaking weather included nine days of temperatures of 32 degrees or above and its hottest overnight March temperature in 110 years of record keeping. Adelaide experienced ten such hot days.

via More angry, more often: March heatwave signals a new normal.

Australian endangered species: Christmas Island Frigatebird

The Christmas Island Frigatebird is a spectacular large seabird. It is one of only five frigatebird species, all with glossy black plumage, long narrow wings, buoyant and acrobatic flight, and long bill with terminal hook.Three species the Magnificent, Great and Lesser Frigatebirds are widespread in tropical oceans. In an unusual biogeographic contrast the Christmas Island and the Ascension Island Frigatebirds each occur on only one island, with the additional oddity that the Christmas Island Frigatebird shares the island with Great and Lesser Frigatebirds.Christmas Island is home to many species that are found nowhere else, a consequence of isolation for millions of years, and of the late date of its human settlement the 1880s.

via Australian endangered species: Christmas Island Frigatebird.

Peace Writ Small: Reflections on “Peacebuilding” in Iraq, Burma, Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, the Balkans and Beyond « Jeffrey C. Goldfarb’s Deliberately Considered

Over the course of my career as a practitioner and researcher in the field known as “peacebuilding,” I have worked alongside thousands of people in conflicted societies, including in Iraq, Burma, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, the Balkans, and elsewhere. In this article, I explore a dilemma I see in the field, namely the increasingly singular emphasis on grand narratives of peace, known as “Peace Writ Large.” I fear that this frame, while valuable in many ways, may have the unintended consequence of actually undermining inquiry into and support for the powerful micro interactions that occur in even the most polarized conflicts. I argue that we must not lose sight of the power embodied in “peace writ small.”Since the mid-1990s, approaches to theory-building, policy-making and intervention in conflict have increasingly emphasized macro, long-term societal changes, first under the rubric of “conflict transformation” and now “peacebuilding”.

via Peace Writ Small: Reflections on “Peacebuilding” in Iraq, Burma, Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, the Balkans and Beyond « Jeffrey C. Goldfarb’s Deliberately Considered.

Baby chicken whose father is a duck is either a new hope for extinct species or a sign of the End Times | Grist

“Someday, son, this will all be yours.”We imagine it’s a common taunt on chicken playgrounds: “Your father is a DUCK!” I mean, why wouldn’t it be? Ducks are gross. But for one brand-new baby chick at Dubai’s Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, it’s just the honest truth. Researchers there have announced the birth of a chicken that was fathered by a duck, in a technique that could represent new hope for extinct species.

via Baby chicken whose father is a duck is either a new hope for extinct species or a sign of the End Times | Grist.

Enough leadership clamour, back to budgeting | Business Spectator

Prime Minister Julia Gillard woke up this morning with the knowledge that Australia’s annual GDP growth is 3.1 per cent, inflation is 2.2 per cent, the unemployment rate is 5.4 per cent, mortgage interest rates are at 6.4 per cent and over 190,000 jobs have been created over the past year.

Gillard can check with the three major credit rating agencies and see that they all have Australia triple-A based on some of the best fiscal settings in the world. Government debt remains at trivial levels and the recent cuts to government spending is seeing a sharp improvement in the budget balance, as it should when the economy is growing.

via Enough leadership clamour, back to budgeting | Business Spectator.

Good reasons for a confident economy – The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The Australian economy is changing, but consumers and businesses are changing their habits to suit. We have good reasons to be confident in our economy, writes Greg Jericho.

Last week the Monthly Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment found that Australians are now more confident about the economy than they have been for two years.

In a blow to the all the prognostications of doom and destruction regarding the carbon tax that flowed forth from both the Opposition and sections of the media favourable to that party, Australians have essentially kept calm and carried on.

The latest figures suggest that consumers are rather more in tune with how the economy is going than those who would seek to tell us life is gloomy and horrible. Not surprisingly, as employment has increased since July 1 last year, so too have consumers responded with increased confidence.

via Good reasons for a confident economy – The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Time Australians’ stopped the whining and fessed up that the Labor Party has been pretty good in government and to realise that the opposition are like those Europeans with all their talk belt tightening.

Hillary Clinton announces her support for gay marriage – Kevin Robillard – POLITICO.com

In a move that could have implications for a 2016 White House campaign, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed gay marriage on Monday, saying she supports it “personally, and as a matter of policy and law.”

“LGBT Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones,” Clinton says, speaking directly to the camera, in a nearly 6-minute video released by the Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights group. “And they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage. … I support it personally, and as matter of policy and law

via Hillary Clinton announces her support for gay marriage – Kevin Robillard – POLITICO.com.

No thoughts here just great feelings.

Grist

dik_dik_1

The dik dik may have a dirty name (well, this one’s name is Aluna, which is very pretty, but you know what I mean), but DAMN is it an incapacitatingly adorable little critter. Dammit, dik dik, you little dik. I wanted to get some work done today but you are too cute.

Even worse news: This baby is being raised by a zookeeper at the U.K.’s Chester Zoo after being abandoned by her mother, so you have to look at pictures of her walking on a keyboard and getting all snuggly with her human foster parent. Good luck feeling satisfied with your life ever again.

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What’s In Soylent : Mostly Harmless

There is precious little good data in nutrition science. Every study I’ve seen shows poor statistical methods, conflicts with other studies, or does not show statistically significant results, usually all three. It’s a difficult field because there are simply too many variables and the parameters are difficult to control precisely. This is why diets are fads. I decided to ditch nutrition and focus on biology. The proportions in Soylent are loosely based off the recommendations of the FDA, though I added a couple extras and changed a few based on my testing. Here is what the body needs.

via What’s In Soylent : Mostly Harmless.

The Beauty of Agnosticism — Who I am — Medium

At the core of what it means to be agnostic is a stance that no one knows whether any sort of deity exists. Many would say that not only is it unknown, but it is ultimately unknowable ­­— humans don’t have the knowledge or capacity or ability to know it. Exactly how or why it may be unknowable varies depending on the particular flavor of agnosticism. It is comparable to thinking about how many “right” versions of baptism or worship exist across various Christian churches.

I often wonder if I’m trending towards one type of agnosticism. I wonder if it’s true that everyone who is pursuing God in any kind of way is leaning that way. The more I try to learn, the more I think I understand, the thought that there is infinitely more to know becomes more and more solidified in my mind.

via The Beauty of Agnosticism — Who I am — Medium.